MonsterQuest - The Last Dinosaur   View more episodes

Aired at 09:00 AM on Sunday, Sep 19, 2010 (9/19/2010)      View all transcripts from this day


00:00:01Sauropods were widespread during the jurassic period, and fossilized remains have been found on every continent except antarctica.
00:00:10These herbivores are members of the same family as the brontosaurus.
00:00:14They had long necks with small heads, big bodies,,, and clawlike feet, identical to reported sightings of themokele-mbembe.
00:00:26The creature is said to be an extremely territorial beast, attacking those who stray ,,,, but some experts simply don't believe it is possible for such an animal to exist.
00:00:39>> Well, we know the fossil record of sauropod dinosaurs very well.
00:00:42They actually died out sometime before the rest of the dinosaurs died out.
00:00:46>> narrator: DR. DONALD PROTHERO Is a professor of geology at occidental college,, in los angeles.
00:00:52He says, "science, by nature, " >> the problem with the mokele-mbembeidea is that there are several basic zoological facts that have been ignored by the people trying to find it.
00:01:04And the biggest problem and the biggest issue that arises not only with this animal but with things like the loch ness monster as well is that for an animal like this to exist, there cannot just be one of them.
00:01:13There has to be a large population of them, especially if they've been around, as some people have claimed, for 65 million years.
00:01:20>> narrator: DR. PROTHERO SAYS That in order to have survived, there would need to be a breeding population of the animals.
00:01:27>> If there are a large population of animals this large, we would not have any trouble seeing them, and it would not be something that has such sketchy evidence in support of it.
00:01:35>> narrator: PROTHERO BELIEVES The sightings could be a result,, of mistaken identity.
00:01:40>> And they have a very different idea about what is real and what is legendary in cultures like that than we do in western culture.
00:01:46>> narrator: THE PROFESSOR Wants hard evidence before he'll believe.
00:01:50>> We cannot rely on secondary sources to document something ,,,, we have to have physical evidence that's much more convincing.
00:02:01>> narrator: AMONSTER QUEST Expedition to west africa will try to bring him just such proof.
00:02:07>> We're looking for a very elusive animal.
00:02:09>> narrator: CRYPTOZOOLOGIST Bill gibbons has traveled to africa to search for mokele-mbembesix times in the last three decades.
00:02:17He will lead the team.
00:02:20>> This will be my sixth expedition in total, two to the congo and four to cameroon.
00:02:25>> narrator: RESEARCHER Rob mullin will be joining,, the team and making his third trip to africa in search of the creature.
00:02:33[engine putters] >> I'm not really concerned with whether western science says that this animal can't exist.
00:02:40I'm more concerned with the fact that all of the local people,,,, say that it does exist.
00:02:45>> narrator: CAMEROON IS ABOUT The size of calirnrnia with less than half the population.
00:02:51Gibbons and mullin will travel east from the capital, yaounde, and then south more than 450 miles to moloundou, a town near the congo border.
00:03:04>> These are tricky roads early in the dry season.
00:03:07The roads are very hard and corrugated.
00:03:10And this is the standard mode of transportation into the south of the country.
00:03:15It's very bumpy and uncomfortable,,, BUT IT'S JUST--[coughs] Excuse me.
00:03:21It's praicically the only way that we can get to our destination at this point.
00:03:26>> narrator: THE TRIP WILL TAKE Three days, because just 10% ,, the team will be limited to traveling mostly on dirt roads at an average of about 15 miles per hour.
00:03:41>> It's put a lot of people off attempting even just to get into the target area.
00:03:46>> narrator: THE TEAM HAS HIRED A local guide pierre sima,, to help them.
00:03:50>>Mokele-mbembeis a very big animal, and this animal can hurt everything on--in the river.
00:03:59>> He's an expert animal tracker.
00:04:01Plus he speaks several different languages, and he's able to translate for us from several,,,, native languages.
00:04:08>> narrator: HE WILL ALSO HELP With the numerous government roadblocks that the team will encounter along the way.
00:04:15>> Well, we're driving through a checkpoint, and we were waved down.
00:04:18It appears that we got a flat tire somewhere on the road back there.
00:04:21It's not unusual on these roads to break down, and it's fairly commonplace.
00:04:27>> narrator: WHILE THEY ARE Broken down, the rains hit.
00:04:29This is the rainy season here, and an average of about 28 inches fall ,, the truck slides into a ditch, and the expedition grinds to a halt.
00:04:45>> And as you can see, our vehicle is jammed at the side of the road, so we're quite concerned about the safety factor as well as trying to get to the final point of our destination.
00:04:55>> This is very bad, very bad.
00:04:57We are trying to push this car, and we don't know if we will have to move it.
00:05:03>> Really concerned about getting to where we're going now, because the road has been turned into mud because ,, >> narrator: THE LOCALS PITCH IN To help get the truck back on the road.
00:05:14>> We have at least another six hours ahead of us, and that is if the-- if the road is good.
00:05:19In these conditions and the kind of vehicle that we're driving in, that may not be possible.
00:05:26>> narrator: IT TAKES AN HOUR To get the team rolling again.
00:05:30>> Now I guess we're trying to decide whether it's worth trying to go on, or whether it's just, you know, too dangerous to continue down the road.
00:05:38>> narrator: THE DANGER Weighed against the schedule ,, >> I would love to reach the target area.
00:05:45I don't want this expedition to recalled because of rain, but it is--it is obviously a dangerous road when we haven't even gotten five minutes out the door, and we're already having to ,, >> narrator: THE TEAM PUSHES ON.
00:06:01Minutes later, the vehicle again lurches dangerously out of control.
00:06:05>> For a second.
00:06:11>> Oh, don't give this up.
00:06:12Don't give this up.
00:06:13>> Yeah, we're stuck,, we can't make it up the hill I think this is the end of our road.
00:06:19>> We tried it again.
00:06:19It wasn't good enough.
00:06:21This vehicle is not going anywhere fast in this mud.
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00:10:11,, >> narrator:MONSTER QUEST Is exploring cameroon in search of evidence of a living dinosaur that the natives call, "mokele-mbembe," " the stories of this creature,, have been passed down for centuries by village elders.
00:10:33>> The first known account of themokele-mbembe is in a book written in 1776 by abbe proyart.
00:10:42>> narrator: DR. ROY MACKAL Is a retired biologist and is considered the world's foremost expert onmokele-mbembe.
00:10:50>> He described what his missionary priest had observed in the congo.
00:10:56>> narrator: ABBE PROYART Wrote, "it must have been monstrous.
00:11:00The marks of the claws were noted on the ground, and these formed a print " >> the footprints showed three claws, so that the priest knew that these could not,, be made by elephants or hippopotamus or any of that sort of animal.
00:11:20>> narrator: EXPLORERS And traders continued to hear stories of this mysterious monster.
00:11:25IN THE LATE 1870s, Englishman alfred smith arrived on the west coast of africa to begin a career as a trader.
00:11:33He later recounted, "behind the cameroons, there's things living we know nothing about.
00:11:39Thejago-nini,they say, is still in the swamps and rivers, 'giant diver,' it means.
00:11:45Comes out of the water and devours people.
00:11:47Footprints about the size of a good frying pan in circumference and three claws " >> from all the evidence that we've collected, the only logical explanation is that these are surviving,, small dinosaurs.
00:12:05>> narrator: IN THE EARLY 1980s, Mackal made two expeditions to africa.
00:12:11He was able to collect enough eyewitness testimony to convince him a dinosaur-like creature still lived in the jungle.
00:12:18>> What impressed me was that the descriptions matched that is an animal of the order of 25 to 30 feet, 8, 9, 10 meters in length, reddish in color,, with a frill on the back of the neck, a long head and neck that looks snakelike.
00:12:41>> narrator: MACKAL DESCRIBES The animal as reptilian.
00:12:45>> They describe them as being able to submerge as a crocodile,,,, would, but being made-- they did come out on land most of the time.
00:12:56There just isn't anything like it at all.
00:12:59>> narrator: AND NOW There may be proof.
00:13:04>> I was in africa to get pictures of a sauropod.
00:13:08>> narrator: IN 2004, Science teacher peter beach traveled to africa and discovered what he says is tangible evidence of the beast.
00:13:18>> They're fairly fresh, probably no more than a week old.
00:13:22>> narrator: BEACH FOUND THESE Prints on the bank of a remote river that splits the border of cameroon and the congo.
00:13:29He photographed them and preserved them by making plaster casts.
00:13:34The prints were a few feet apart.
00:13:36It was as if the animal had moved up on land,,,, in order to eat leaves from the overhanging tree branches.
00:13:44>> The tracks are in kind of a gravely sand.
00:13:48They are approximately a foot in diameter, but you can see where there's more than just a foot, toes, in other words.
00:13:57Perhaps three toes, a foot in diameter, with a heel of some sort.
00:14:02Maybe it's the haunches of the animal, or maybe it's part of its foot.
00:14:06I can't tell for sure.
00:14:08>> narrator: BEACH FOUND OTHER Evidence that a large animal had, been in the area.
00:14:13>> And we looked up, and there wasn't any foliage up in--up to about 18 feet up.
00:14:19We measured it, just to be sure.
00:14:21And we could see that this animal had cleared out an entire area.
00:14:25>> narrator: AMONG AFRICA'S Indigenous animal population,,, only giraffes could reach foliage at this height, but there are no giraffes in this part of africa.
00:14:35>> Could this be some other animal?
00:14:37According to the locals and to my guide, there is no other animal that is quite like this animal.
00:14:50>> narrator: THEMONSTER QUEST Science team has obtained these tracks and will subject them to testing for the first time ever.
00:14:58>> Sauropod tracks are a good,,,, 2, 3 feet across the big ones, and even small ones are at least a foot and a half across.
00:15:05>> narrator: DR. DONALD PROTHERO Determines the cast that peter beach made in africa was only 1 foot across.
00:15:13>> I look at the photographs here, for example, and it shows what appear to be three parallel scratches in the ground that could have been claw marks or something, but they don't look anything like a sauropod claw mark.
00:15:24>> narrator: PROTHERO WILL NEED To compare known dinosaur tracks with the casts from africa ,, sunrise.
00:15:36Themonster questexpedition team is in cameroon, west africa, and the word spreads that outsiders have arrived to look for the monster.
00:15:44>> They have the most contact, or they observe the animal ,,,, >> narrator: THE VILLAGERS KNOWN As the baka are eager to talk to the westerners about the creature.
00:15:55They draw an image in the dirt of what they've seen.
00:16:00>> Look at that, bill.
00:16:03>> Just to draw with such,, incredible accuracy.
00:16:07The bulky body, the-- between three and five claws.
00:16:12You have the head with the facial features of a python.
00:16:15>> narrator: THE LOCALS HAVE Virtually no contact with the outside world.
00:16:20>> And what's so amazing about,, this is these people have nothing whatsoever to gain from telling stories, because we don't pay them.
00:16:28They get no reward from us for doing this.
00:16:31>> narrator: TO HELP CLARIFY Their descriptions, bill gibbons has brought along a set of pictures.
00:16:36These will help determine,, if they are able to tell the difference between an elephant and a dinosaur.
00:16:43>> They live in the forest, so-- [stutters] They can easily find the difference betweenmokele-mbembe and another type of animal.
00:16:52>> narrator: WHILE GIBBONS Flips the pages, their guide translates.
00:16:56[discussion in native language] They don't know a bear or deer, but when gibbons flips the pages to the drawing of a dinosaur, eyes open and fingers point.
00:17:09>> This is amokele-mbembe,,, which they have seen.
00:17:11So this is how the molele-mbembelook.
00:17:15>> narrator: THIS TECHNIQUE Is known to some in the scientific community " >> oh, like this.
00:17:23>> Every time you talk about themokele-mbembeto bakas or to people who live around the river, they only describe it as animal with a long neck and a head like a snake.
00:17:35>> narrator: THIS CONVINCES Gibbons that the sightings are not a case of misidentification.
00:17:40>> But we've come to the conclusion that this is,, definitely a different, unique animal in its own right.
00:17:49>> Okay.
00:17:50>> [speaking in native language] >> narrator: THIS WOMAN SAYS She saw the animal while fishing with her husband.
00:17:57>> The head was like a kind of,,,, snake, but it was very long, very long.
00:18:05[motor churns] >> narrator: DADJAL THERESE Spotted a large animal coming out of the dja river,, while out in a boat.
00:18:18>> I saw this animal trying to eat some leaves.
00:18:24The only part of the animal we saw was the head and the neck.
00:18:29>> narrator: SHE SAYS HER Encounter lasted less than a minute yet left her terrified.
00:18:35>> The water was churning.
00:18:36The boat was shaking like an earthquake.
00:18:39Everything was shaking in the river.
00:18:41I felt very afraid.
00:18:45>> narrator: HER SIGHTING WAS OF ,, >> I've never seen another one since I've lived in the village.
00:19:02>> narrator: THE PRINTS BEING Examined by the science team were found by the dja river in 2004.
00:19:09The river is 450 miles in length and forms the republic of congo-cameroon border.
00:19:16It is fed by both the bumba ,,,, >> it's a perfect highway for them.
00:19:22>> narrator: THE CONGO HAS LONG Been known as a volatile hotspot for crime and armed militias.
00:19:28With increased dangers, the team must be extra cautious.
00:19:36>> From guerilla warfare to the local animals to just the hazards of being on an unknown river, there's always danger involved.
00:19:46>> narrator: THE JUNGLE Completely surrounds the river, encroaching on every side.
00:19:51Poisonous snakes and deadly crocodiles add to the risk.
00:19:55The team is traveling in canoes used by the villagers made from hollowed out trees.
00:20:00This increases the chance of a potential encounter.
00:20:06The team heads to the spot where the tracks were originally found.
00:20:11>> Because this is the place where we find a lot of track ofmokele-mbembeon this part.
00:20:17Specialist of a lot-- of many type of animal.
00:20:22"I never seen this type,, " and it was the first time to see that type of track.
00:20:28>> narrator: THE TEAM CONDUCTS A thorough search for any new tracks.
00:20:33>> We'll just have a look around.
00:20:34See if we can find somewhere that looks promising.
00:20:37>> Want to--want to watch everything here.
00:20:39>> Looks pretty dry ,, oh.
00:20:44Not much yet.
00:20:45The waters kind of swept everything out of here pretty effectively.
00:20:50>> narrator: THE TEAM SETS UP A motion-sensing camera trap, which will snap photos should the animal return here to feed.
00:20:57>> Okay, rob, it's all yours.
00:21:00>> What do you think?
00:21:01Maybe on this upright tree, here?
00:21:02All set.
00:21:05We are ready to go.
00:21:08>> narrator: THE BOAT HEADS Upriver, scouting for other locations.
00:21:13>> This is a good spot.
00:21:14>> It's right on the edge of the river, so that we can catch all the action at the right height.
00:21:23>> narrator: THEY PLACE ANOTHER Motion-sensing camera.
00:21:26>> If they do come up to feed in that area, presumably,,,, they would set off the camera trackers.
00:21:34>> narrator: THE TEAM IS Operating on the theory that the creature hides within natural cave formations.
00:21:40>> During the dry season, they hole themselves up.
00:21:42It's a kind of reptilian hibernation, where they just cease activity for a while.
00:21:48Frequently the animals will find a place that's already hollowed out, you know, in a bend of the river and just dig in deeper and then wall themselves up.
00:21:58>> narrator: THEY BELIEVE THAT The animal will stay in the caves until the water level,, rises.
00:22:04>> The average size of the caves that we've found so far have been 15 feet by 15 feet.
00:22:14>> See right there under-- under the bank?
00:22:18You look for a bend in the river primarily, and then you look for piles of massed earth.
00:22:24And as we've found out, that's mostly on the congo side.
00:22:28>> narrator: THE PILES OF DIRT At the side of the bank may be a sign of the monster digging a cave dwelling and that they could be getting closer to an encounter.
00:22:38They spot something interesting.
00:22:40>> 'Cause this looks like there's been some activity here.
00:22:44What I'm looking at is these large vent holes.
00:22:47There's about one, two, three.
00:22:49There's two of them that seem ,, >> narrator: GIBBONS BELIEVES The animal not only digs itself a cave, but also makes air vents for it to breathe while inside.
00:23:00He pulls up near shore.
00:23:02>> We've seen some of the vents before, which we believe are associated with the caves, that the animals tend to hibernate in for the duration of the dry season.
00:23:14Wow, that goes way back.
00:23:17That's very, very deep.
00:23:19How thick do you think this cave wall might be, though?
00:23:23>> narrator: THEIR GUIDE GRABS A 6-foot-long stick and stretches his arm into the hole.
00:23:27He cannot reach the end of the cave.
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00:27:26>> narrator:MONSTER QUEST Is deep in the jungles of cameroon searching for signs of the last living dinosaur.
00:27:33Natives call it, " >> [speaking in native language] >> I saw themokele-mbembe when I was very young.
00:27:44>> narrator: EDIMO FERDINAND Was helping his father with fishing nets when he had a frightening firsthand, encounter.
00:27:51>> I was something like 150 meters away.
00:27:57>> narrator: HE WATCHED IN BOTH Fear and amazement.
00:28:03>> The animal is like an elephant,,,,, but the neck is very long.
00:28:09>> Too long.
00:28:13>> It's a very big animal.
00:28:15When it comes out of the water, it makes a lot of movement on the river.
00:28:20>> narrator: NOT ONLY THE Animal's size but the sound that it made terrified the boy.
00:28:26>> Whoo-oof!
00:28:35>> narrator: FOR A FEW MINUTES, The animal fed on leaves,, then went back into the water.
00:28:41>> When this animal comes out of the water, you see something ,,,, >> narrator: THE EXPEDITION TEAM Led by bill gibbons d rob mullin believe they may have found the beast's hiding place.
00:29:03>> We cannot think of a single other animal, reptile, mammal, that would make burrows ,, yeah, it goes.
00:29:11It's still going in.
00:29:14These air vents go quite far down into the side of this high, muddy bank.
00:29:25This one is quite deep.
00:29:26It seems to be going quite far into the bank.
00:29:29Especially the one behind me, clearly they've been dug out for a purpose.
00:29:34>> narrator: BUT THE WALLS To the cave are like cement.
00:29:37Without powerful tools, ,, >> once they're sealed in there, it's very difficult to get them out.
00:29:46And it's just a pity we didn't have any other way of finding out what's on the other side of this mud wall.
00:29:51Off we go.
00:29:53>> narrator: THE TEAM WILL ,, they spot an unusual fh floating in the water.
00:30:03>> I've never seen a fish like that.
00:30:05It had a trunk like an elephant.
00:30:07>> narrator: THE TEAM HAS FOUND A rare ephant fish, unique to this region of africa.
00:30:12>> This fish really shows the de diversity,,,, of animal life around here.
00:30:17>> narrator: THE ELEPHANT FISH Species use their long snouts to sift through river bottom sediment for food.
00:30:24Now the team prepares for an underwater survey of the river.
00:30:31>> And we have a fish camera, which is very lightweight and portable but essential to our work.
00:30:36The camera's disguised as a fish, which you can drop down to about 50 feet.
00:30:40This is a lightweight fish finder, sonar unit, which gives us the depth of any particular location,, that we choose to investigate.
00:30:49We're hoping to locate any large submerged animal.
00:30:54>> narrator: IF THE SONAR Ots anything, gibbons hopes to film it with the camera.
00:30:59>> Ready?
00:31:00>> Yeah.
00:31:02,,,, >> I'm still checking.
00:31:05Drop it a little more into the water.
00:31:08>> narrator: IT DOESN'T TAKE Long before they get a hit.
00:31:12>> Is that a crocodile?
00:31:13>> That looks like a croc, yeah.
00:31:14It's very big, whatever it is.
00:31:17I'm trying to get down ,, I'm hitting the bottom slightly.
00:31:21>> Okay, we have another large target at the bottom here.
00:31:23That looks like a croc.
00:31:25That's a croc.
00:31:27>> Crocodile?
00:31:28>> It's long and serpentine, whatever it is.
00:31:31>> That was a very, very big target.
00:31:32>> It was huge.
00:31:33>> May not even have been a crocodile.
00:31:35There are so many strange animals in this river.
00:31:37>> Yeah.
00:31:38>> So many strange animals.
00:31:40What depth do we have?
00:31:41>> We have 6.0 here.
00:31:43>> Oh, okay, right.
00:31:44I've let out too much cable.
00:31:46>> See this stuff.
00:31:48[stutters] See this; what is this?
00:31:50>> Mm? yes?
00:31:51>> Do you think that might have been a snake?
00:31:53>> Maybe, but this is very long and big.
00:31:56>> What have you got?
00:31:56>> I don't think I want to meet up with that snake.
00:31:59It makes you wonder what's right under--right under you.
00:32:02I mean, it's not that deep, but we're seeing all sorts of odd profiles on the fish finder.
00:32:08>> The sonar is perfect, because you can see very far.
00:32:14>> Here, look at this.
00:32:15Look. look.
00:32:16We have something.
00:32:16We have something.
00:32:17>> Oh, wow.
00:32:18>> Whoa, what is-- >> that is a very big target.
00:32:20Look at the size of that thing.
00:32:23>> narrator: THEY'RE HAVING A hard time getting a clear,,,, picture in the murky water.
00:32:27>> And it's 6 feet.
00:32:28Look at it.
00:32:30>> narrator: THE STORM THEY Encountered on their journey here has stirred up the river bottom.
00:32:34>> It's very discolored.
00:32:36It's like trying to find something in awimming pool full of chocolate milk.
00:32:46>> Okay, here we go.
00:32:47Here we go.
00:32:47Here it is again.
00:32:48>> Yep, there's another big one.
00:32:49Big hump.
00:32:50>> This cannot be a branch.
00:32:52>> No?
00:32:52>> Very long.
00:32:53I don't know which type of thing this can be, but it seems like a very, very long animal.
00:33:02>> I've not seen-- I've not seen that profile any other time than now.
00:33:07>> narrator: THEY CANNOT STOP Without starting the motor.
00:33:10Any noise could scare the creature.
00:33:13,,,, >> another serpentine shape coming up.
00:33:17>> Wow, look at that.
00:33:188, And here we have another strange profile.
00:33:21What does this look like?
00:33:22>> Look at that.
00:33:22Look at that hump.
00:33:24Very big.
00:33:25Very strange.
00:33:26What is that?
00:33:27>> I don't know.
00:33:28,, oh, what is this?
00:33:33>> Uh-oh.
00:33:34>> What is this?
00:33:35>> That can't be the bottom.
00:33:36It's not the bottom.
00:33:36>> What is that?
00:33:37>> See.
00:33:38>> Wait. wait. wait.
00:33:38Something just passed the camera.
00:33:40>> My god.
00:33:41>> I'm trying to get a bit lower here.
00:33:44>> narrator: THE CREATURE, Whatever it was, disappears,, from the sonar's view.
00:33:48>> And here we go.
00:33:49>> Oh, something dark just loomed up at the camera and then went off.
00:33:52>> But this look like very long snake.
00:33:55See this bottom is empty.
00:33:57>> Yes.
00:33:58>> Hmm, why?
00:33:59>> narrator: THE TEAM TRIES To make sense of what they ,, >> we saw some fascinating profiles.
00:34:04I really don't know how to identify them.
00:34:06We've--some of them might have been tree branches.
00:34:09Some of them might have been serpentine.
00:34:11>> I mean, notice that when these larger objects, which are clearly not debris in the water, but obviously ,, there's no fish aroundhehem, which is interesting.
00:34:22>> Something that just went on and on and on for-- for several feet, but it was-- they were very difficult to define.
00:34:31It was hard to tell what it was.
00:34:33It tells me that there are quite a few mysteries on this,,, river to be explored further.
00:34:38>> We weren't able to get any video this time.
00:34:40We do need to spend more time here, though, on the river.
00:34:44Okay, let's bring it in, guys.
00:34:46>> narrator: THE TEAM HEADS Back to camp.
00:34:48They'll be preparing for a nighttime observation in a place locals call " >> the natives say it's forbidden to go there because it's a location where they encountered the mokele-mbembeson a number ,, d d allergies put scott in a fog.
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00:37:16,,ZoZo 5 HR - The Last Din,,oror,, >> narrator:MONSTER QUEST Is in the heart of africa searching for the last living dinosaur.
00:39:05The territorial amphibious creature lives in the rivers here and has been known to attack humans.
00:39:13>> The tradition of the pygmies especially is that if anyone sees amokele-mbembe and then reports or talks about it, he will surely die.
00:39:25>> narrator: DR. ROY MACKAL Met many locals during his search for the creature.
00:39:29They warned him of the dangers of his quest and that should he encounter difficulty, they would not be able to help him.
00:39:37>> "You go right ahead,,, but remember, we will not even send up a body bag " >> narrator: THEY HAVE LONG Passed on the legends of these frightening and mysterious creatures ,,,, >> [speaking in native language] >> He was eating leaves, and the branches were falling in the water when he was eating.
00:40:05>> narrator: NANGA NORBERT WAS Fishing one night on the dja river when he saw the creature.
00:40:10Even in the dark, he could tell this was not an elephant or rhino.
00:40:16>> With something like spines on his back, long neck, long tail.
00:40:22It's difficult to tell how big the animal was.
00:40:26It was dark, and the night was so long that I was afraid.
00:40:30And I just run.
00:40:31>> narrator: NORBERT TURNED HIS Boat around and left the area.
00:40:34He was scared for his life.
00:40:37>> This animal has a reputation of breaking canoes, ,, >> narrator: THE EXPEDITION TEAM Led by bill gibbons and rob mullin are embarking on a dangerous nighttime search for this living dinosaur.
00:40:57>> We're looking at night because we've seen a lot of,, confirmation in the eyewitness reports that the animal is active at night and generally feeding on the leaves surrounding the river.
00:41:09>> narrator: THE DANGER IS Everywhere as africa's predators are mostly nighttime hunters.
00:41:15The team will ride in a larger and sturdier canoe to help prevent them from tipping over.
00:41:20>> It's a little bit unnerving being in the river in the dark with lots of crocodiles around, but you know, you've to be a little adventurous if you want to be successful.
00:41:32>> narrator: TO HELP THEM WITH Their search, they enlist local villagers.
00:41:36>> We know far less about these animals than the native people do, so we take their advice whenever we do go into a location where the animals are said to be present.
00:41:44>> narrator: A FULL MOON Will help as well.
00:41:47>> Mostly seeing shoreline.
00:41:48Seeing some trees.
00:41:50Not seeing much in the water.
00:41:52It's pretty calm at the moment.
00:41:54Any signs of surface disturbance, any signs of the animal eating at the edge of the water is what we're looking for.
00:42:03>> They'd be right up inside,,,, the tree line, among the foliage, browsing on the leaves.
00:42:09>> narrator: THEY STAY CLOSE To shore for safety.
00:42:11>> People have been traveling down the river at the night in their canoes, and they've literally ran into mokele-mbembesfeeding.
00:42:18So we're trying to be as quiet as we can, just drifting with,, the current to see if we might just spot a feeding mokele-mbembe.
00:42:25That would be something, if we can.
00:42:27>> We have a little moonlight tonight helping us in our search.
00:42:31Visibility is pretty good.
00:42:32I can see all the way to the shoreline here.
00:42:35I'd say these are ideal conditions.
00:42:37The water is very quiet.
00:42:38The river is very calm.
00:42:43No sounds, so we can easily hear any disturbance.
00:42:47>> narrator: AS IS COMMON In this part of africa, a storm arrives and builds quickly, ,, >> there seems to be a storm coming in right now.
00:42:57It's been moving across on the congo for quite some time.
00:43:00It's closing in on our position fairly quickly, so we need to get off the river and get back to camp before we get caught in the storm.
00:43:08>> We didn't hear anything,, of note.
00:43:10A lot of bird sounds and a few fish splashing in the river, but apart from that, no major activity.
00:43:16>> Well, it was very, very quiet.
00:43:18Not even crocodiles tonight, surprisingly.
00:43:20Usually there are a few crocs out at night.
00:43:23But a very peaceful, calm night ,,,, >> narrator: DAYBREAK, And the team is back on the hunt.
00:43:34>> What can you see on the sonar?
00:43:37>> Right now, just small fish.
00:43:39>> We're at the bottom here, so I'm trailing down as close to the bottom as I can to see if we can identify some of these larger profiles that we've been hitting from time to time.
00:43:48>> narrator: IN JUST MINUTES, Large, unidentified objects begin appearing on the sonar.
00:43:54>> Whoa. whoa.
00:43:56>> It's all up and down like this.
00:43:57,, that could be a neck and a rgrge body.
00:44:00>> I don't think that this is this place, no.
00:44:03This is a so mysterious.
00:44:04>> Look at it.
00:44:05That is a very big target.
00:44:07>> What is that?
00:44:10>> Uh-oh. uh-oh.
00:44:11Trouble is, it's so milky down there.
00:44:13I can't see anything on the camera.
00:44:15>> narrator: THE RIVER BOTTOM Has been stirred up by the rains.
00:44:18>> Some very unusual profiles in the water.
00:44:22Some of them fairly bulky.
00:44:24Obviously some of them very long and snakelike.
00:44:27Once or twice, we thought we caught sight of a-- more of a bulky body with a long, slender neck attached to it.
00:44:32A couple of times we got that.
00:44:34>> Unfortunately, it's almost impossible to get good video from this river.
00:44:39>> narrator: THE TEAM DECIDES To make the move toward the bumba river.
00:44:43>> We're heading there because there's been some very recent activity on that river regardingmokele-mbembe.
00:44:48>> My understanding is some within the last few months.
00:44:54>> narrator: THEMONSTER QUEST Science team has been analyzing the tracks said to have been made by the last living dinosaur.
00:45:01The large beast is thought to be from the sauropod family.
00:45:05>> The sauropods' toes are all three really close together, and these are widely spaced.
00:45:09>> narrator: THE KNOWN TRACKS Of sauropods seem to be unlike those found in cameroon.
00:45:15>> The sauropods, some of weighed up to 40 or 50 tons, so when they stepped on the ground, especially soft ground, they would leave impressions that were 2-feet deep in some cases.
00:45:24Oh, there actually are well-preserved sauropod tracs in several places.
00:45:28The most famous is in the glen rose limestone in paluxy river, texas, where there's a series of very large sauropod trackways.
00:45:35,,,, there's actually shots OF KIDS BACK IN THE 1930s Sitting there and taking baths in them.
00:45:40>> narrator: DR. PROTHERO POINTS To scientific dating of these tracks, which indicates theywent extinct 65 million years ago.
00:45:49>> I think it's extremely unlikely themokele-mbembe il record does not support the idea that sauropod dinosaurs were around for the last 140 million years in africa.
00:45:58And we have an excellent fossil record to show that.
00:46:01Science is not about absolutes.
00:46:03Science is about probabilities.
00:46:05We never say "never" in science, even for things that are ,, shoes?
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00:49:34,,ststin >> narrator:MONSTER QUEST Is searching the jungle of west africa for a living dinosaur known to natives ,, sightings go back generations and suggest a large-bodied creature that has a long neck, ,, this teacher says he collected footprints of the beast.
00:50:20This woman said that when the creature moved, the whole river shook.
00:50:24These men are on a search to collect video evidence of the monster.
00:50:28And this expert dismisses the possibility that a living ,, >> some of the most recent activity was on the bumba, so we're hoping that just maybe considering the fact the rains have stayed late into the dry season, there might still be some activity on the river.
00:50:46>> narrator: THE EXPEDITION TEAM Is searching the area ,, >> all three rivers are interconnected, and this apparently is a migration route for themokele-mbembe.
00:50:58>> narrator: THE BUMBA RUNS Along the border of the republic of congo and poses a much greater risk than the dja.
00:51:04The plan on the bumba will be,, similar to that of the dja.
00:51:08The team will head up as far as possible and then float silently back down, using the sonar and underwater cameras.
00:51:15>> So good equipment all around.
00:51:18>> narrator: THIS TIME THEY WILL Focus on the deep water pools where they believe the animal,, could be hiding.
00:51:24>> They would appear as just a large, dark object, possibly with certain contours such as a long neck or a long tail.
00:51:32Right now we're just passing over some slightly shallow water, 3 to 4 feet deep ,,,, lots of silt on the bottom of this river.
00:51:41Not too many fish around.
00:51:42I'm pretty sure we'll start encountering more marine life as soon as we hit the deeper water.
00:51:47Okay, 12 feet.
00:51:49Get ready.
00:51:50So we'll keep trawling the river here to see if there's anything interesting that we might be able to stumble upon.
00:51:55>> This is a little like fishing without bait.
00:51:59>> narrator: THEY WILL DRIFT Slowly down the river.
00:52:02It's the best way to find the animal without scaring it away.
00:52:06>> As we know what fish and crocodiles tend to look like on sonar, we're looking ,, >> at this point, we're doing everything that we can to find its habitat and locate it that way.
00:52:17>> Right now we're averaging 7 feet.
00:52:20We want to find something 20 feet plus in depth.
00:52:23>> We're hoping that the sonar can see what the eyes cannot.
00:52:27>> The water level has been pretty shallow, not surprisingly at this time of year.
00:52:30But this doesn't do us much good.
00:52:32We are hoping to get into much deeper water.
00:52:35Up here it's a bit shallow here.
00:52:37Can we motor down towards the confluence of the ngoko?
00:52:41So that way we can-- >> narrator: IN HOPES OF FINDING Deeper water, they will move the boat closer to the headwaters of the bumba and the dja.
00:52:48>> 12 Feet.
00:52:4815 Feet.
00:52:49Okay. okay.
00:52:51There's a big object here.
00:52:53Fairly big.
00:52:55Drifting along.
00:52:56Drop it right in, rob.
00:52:57>> narrator: THE PLAN TO MOVE To deeper water seems,, to be working.
00:53:01>> What's this?
00:53:02Look at that.
00:53:03Look at how long that is.
00:53:06>> The water is very dark and murky.
00:53:09>> Hang on.
00:53:10What's this?
00:53:11What's that?
00:53:11>> I don't know.
00:53:13>> Yeah, it's not quite-- look at this.
00:53:15,, >> narrator: THE OBJECT QUICKLY Disappears.
00:53:19They decide to turn around and give it another look.
00:53:22>> We will go back in the middle here.
00:53:25>> Soon as I say "drop," and then drop it in, okay?
00:53:27Because we're coming-- we're coming back down to that same location.
00:53:31,, >> narrator: THE TEAM HAS ZEROED In on a possible target, but then another problem.
00:53:39>> Right on the border here, guys.
00:53:40>> I see the border.
00:53:41Yes, we don't want to go any closer to the congo.
00:53:43>> narrator: THE TEAM IS EXACTLY Where they want to be on the river, but just 100 feet away is the border with the,,,, dangerous republic of congo.
00:53:51>> Problem is, we're getting a little bit too close to the congo side.
00:53:54We don't want to get too far over the front-- this is what they call " because it could cause more sorts of complications for us.
00:54:03We're at the deep part of the river, 15 feet, but we can't stay here, because it's politically sensitive.
00:54:08>> narrator: GIBBONS AND MULLIN Believe the major reasons why this animal hasn't been found is the remote location and the threat of searching in such a dangerous area.
00:54:18>> Yes, we have to go.
00:54:19,, [motor rumbles] >> narrator: THEY ARE VERY Close but cannot take the risk.
00:54:27They reluctantly head back to camp.
00:54:30On the way back, they collect the camera traps.
00:54:36>> I am anxious to see what's on,,,, these because you never know what will turn up next.
00:54:40Let's see what we can find.
00:54:42Motion 44.
00:54:43Picture three of three.
00:54:44So we have gotten some pictures in here.
00:54:49>> narrator: THEY EXAMINE THEM, But no unusual animals have been ,, thismonster questexpedition has made some interesting discoveries.
00:54:59Hits on the expedition team's sonar indicated there are large, unknown, serpent-like animals that live beneath the waters here.
00:55:08They also located a cave system that they believe may be the hibernation grounds for an unknown creature.
00:55:14And the science team determined that footprints taken here in 2004 were not those from a living dinosaur.
00:55:24>> We're getting closer , the next expedition, we might get some film.
00:55:29>> There were some long serpentine things that were a little hard to define.
00:55:33So we would like to go back and uncover some of those mysteries.
00:55:38>> And a sauropod dinosaur, you know, is a hard thing to miss, and there's no sign that there's been any dinosaur in africa in the last 65 million years.
00:55:45>> Themokele-mbembe identification is a matter of conjecture.
00:55:50But all the descriptive material that we've been able to accumulate suggests that we are dealing with a small sauropod,,,, dinosaur.
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00:56:15He died young, aged just 32, and,, went on to become the biggest movie star in history, and he influenced popular culture more than anyone before ,, >> bruce totally inspired and made me dream and made me realize that I wanted to be